The return to international football has been a long wait for all Australians. But Laura Brock has had to wait particularly long.
“It's been a solid two years really since I pulled on this jersey.” Brock told matildas.com.au from camp in the Netherlands.
After injury kept her out of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament, the defender was stoked to be in among the team again.
“I'm very, very excited to be here. And it was just so good to see the girls and have some familiar Australian faces and voices.”
While the reunion has been joyful it has been a little different thanks to the health and safety protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was amazing, but awful, because I'm such a hugger. And we're not allowed to hug each other."
"It's really hard to not just embrace each other. We haven't seen each other for over a year, everyone was doing these awkward like high elbows and stuff.”
The group is congregating in the Netherlands, coming in from Sweden, Stanford University, and everywhere in between.
With players so spread out and everyone at different stages of their respective seasons, getting everyone onto the same page in these early training sessions is key.
“The first session is always a bit mismatched. But it was really fun and good to see Tony and the way he sees the game a little bit and a little insight into what we can expect from him further down the track.” Brock explained.
This is the first Westfield Matildas camp under Tony Gustavsson and Brock’s first impressions of the Swede and his style of play were encouraging.
“He's very positive and ball oriented and big on our off the ball movement. So it'll be cool to see how that evolves into our games and how we can kind of transition from the training pitch on to game time.”
For Brock, this camp represents not only an opportunity to reunite with the team and begin preparation for the Olympics in Tokyo, but is a chance to re-evaluate where she is at and regain some confidence at national team level.
“Not being around the girls as much, you doubt yourself being away from it. And I know it was an injury that kept me away, but you’re not sure where you're at and how you gauge yourself in trainings.”
“Obviously I can keep up in France but can I keep up in the national team? We don't know yet. So yeah, just kind of getting my confidence back and just enjoying the time. Every minute that I have here and trying to be positive with the new girls.”